Mayor Landrieu Touts 2014 Success In Tourism, Special Events, Film
NEW ORLEANS — Mayor Mitch Landrieu noted the tremendous success of the cultural economy and tourism sectors in 2014 as the city hosted record-breaking, world-class events, received global tourism accolades, attracted major film projects and continued improvements to the permitting process for special event organizers.
In the first half of 2014, the New Orleans' tourism industry boasted nearly 5.1 million visitors with an estimated $3.86 billion in visitor spending. Visitation in 2014 was 2% more than the same period in 2013, according to data from the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center. Tourism officials expect numbers for the second half of 2014 to be strong.
“Year after year, New Orleans proves to be one of the best places in the world to live, to visit and to conduct business,” Mayor Landrieu said noting the city’s hosting of more than 400 festivals, events, parades and markets this year. “One of the reasons our economy continues to grow is due to our continued focus on creating opportunities for our cultural economy to thrive. We are thrilled that our artisans, musicians, culinary and creative professionals are being recognized across the globe.”
At the start of 2014, New Orleans hosted the 2014 NBA All Star Weekend bringing more than $106 million in economic impact and international publicity to the city, according to a study by the UNO Hospitality Research Center. That same study found that visitors spent an average of $904 during their mid-February trip to New Orleans resulting in $3.2 million in tax revenue for the New Orleans region. Similarly, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials reported that WrestleMania XXX generated a record-breaking $142.2 million in economic impact for the city. This past April, a crowd of 75,167 fans from all 50 states and 36 countries attended WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza, making it the highest-grossing entertainment event at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) said, “2014 was a very strong year for New Orleans’ tourism industry. The NBA All-Star Game, WWE WrestleMania XXX, a packed festival season and consistent convention business are only a few highlights of the year. New Orleans continues to win global travel and tourism accolades, and we look forward to a successful 2015 for the city’s largest and most important economic driver – the tourism industry."
“2014 marked the culmination of an unprecedented run of world-class major sporting events in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana,” said Jay Cicero, President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. “The legacy of these events, including WWE’s WrestleMania XXX and the NBA All Star Weekend, is deeply rooted in the Mayor’s office, as his administration played a major role in reinventing how the City engages and hosts these major economic drivers. From one stop permitting, to special event communications, to playing an unprecedented active role in the Host Committees, our city has never been a more friendly place for major events to do business.”
Major Film Projects And Local Workforce Development
Louisiana is the number one producer of feature films in the country and New Orleans is the flagship location. 2014 year-end projections show an estimated $509 million in direct spending for 60 tax credit projects in New Orleans—an increase of more than $100 million from last year. There were also 193 non-tax credit projects that contributed in over $9 million in spending. Non-tax credit projects are also up by over $3 million from last year.
The city saw its largest film productions of the year over the summer of 2014, as Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys filmed at locations across New Orleans. Together, the productions spent an estimated $168 million locally.
Other notable film projects produced in the city that premiered in theaters and on television in 2014 included NCIS: New Orleans, True Detective, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and 22 Jump Street.
As part of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, Film New Orleans partnered with local organizations to produce low-cost or no-cost film industry workforce training programs for individuals interested in working in New Orleans burgeoning film industry. With the number of productions in the New Orleans region steadily climbing, the City continued work to meet the increased demand for locals to fill jobs in the industry. In 2014, the City partnered with local film industry businesses, New Orleans Video Access Center, Jefferson Parish, Ashe Cultural Center and the UNO Foundation, to produce 4 workforce training programs which trained a total of 125 individuals from the New Orleans region for jobs in the film industry.
The State of Louisiana, through the Motion Picture Tax Credit program, incentivizes productions to hire locals for their productions so the City assesses the needs of the industry and produces training programs to help fill the gaps in industry employment.
“We’re proud of the work we have done to ensure the success and sustainability of our city’s cultural economy. Through strong workforce development and job trainings, we are proving to production companies and special event organizers from across the world that New Orleans is a place that can meet all their needs,” said Scott Hutcheson, Advisor to the Mayor for Cultural Economy.
In addition to film industry trainings, the Office of Cultural Economy developed 11 other educational and workforce development programs in 2014 in the areas of digital arts and crafts, culinary arts, design, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, historic preservation and traditional culture bearers. Programming ranged from experiential workshops and job trainings to industry panel presentations.
New Orleans was also chosen by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the 16th site for Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The Kennedy Center will fund the program with the assistance of local organizations like the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy.
High Marks On Tourism
“As our city continues to be a model for the nation, we see visitation and important visitation spending increase,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). “Tourism and economic development go hand in hand and we continue to grow a stronger economy for all citizens and demonstrate that we are national leaders in resiliency and revitalization.”
In 2014, New Orleans received both national and global accolades:
• Rough Guides named New Orleans one of the Top 10 Cities to visit in 2015, December 2014.
• New Orleans was named the #1 U.S. City for Food by Thrillist.com, December 2014.
• Destination Weddings & Honeymoons named New Orleans one of the Top 20 “Best Wedding Destinations of 2015,” December 2014.
• ConventionSouth magazine named New Orleans the “Most Meeting Friendly” destination in the southern United States, as voted by readers, December 2014.
• New Orleans was named #7 in GOOD Magazine’s 2014 GOOD City Index, which ranks cities by their inspiring nature and possibility, November 2014.
• New Orleans was named the Best Home Port in North America by Cruise Critic in their 2014 US Editors’ Pick Awards, November 2014.
• New Orleans won Top Honors in Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Cities list, ranking #1 in the “Festivals,” “Notable Restaurants,” “Historical Sites” categories and more, October 2014.
• Conde Nast Traveler named New Orleans one of the Top 25 Cities in the World, one of only five U.S. cities to make the list, October 2014.
• Men's Health Magazine named New Orleans the 7th Friendliest City in America, September 2014.
• ConventionSouth Magazine named New Orleans one of the South’s Top 10 Music Cities for Meetings and Events based on reader and fan votes, August 2014.
• New Orleans was named the Best Culinary Destination in the small domestic category by Saveur Magazine, August 2014.
• Cvent named New Orleans one of the Top 10 Meeting Destinations in the United States, August 2014
• Business Facilities Magazine ranked New Orleans the 5th Best City for Economic Growth Potential and Louisiana as having the #1 Best Business Climate in the USA, August 2014
• New Orleans was named the 5th Friendliest City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler, August 2014
• Travel + Leisure readers named New Orleans a World's Best City, one of only two American cities to make the list, July 2014
• Thrillist.com ranks Louisiana the 4th Best State in the U.S. for its signature food and drinks, July 2014
• New Orleans was voted one of the Best Convention Cities, selected by readers of USA Today and 10Best, June 2014
• Travel & Teach named New Orleans one of its Top 10 Emerging Student Destinations, May 2014.
• Travel + Leisure readers name New Orleans America’s Best City for Night Owls, May 2014
• Travel + Leisure readers name New Orleans America’s Best City for Girlfriend Getaways, May 2014
• Forbes recognized New Orleans as one of America’s New Brainpower Cities, April 2014
• Conde Nast Traveler names New Orleans the 5th Best American Cities for Foodies, April 2014
• The City of New Orleans is the 5th most popular travel destination in the United States in TripAdvisor’s 6th annual Travelers’ Choice Awards for Destinations. The Big Easy moves up five spots from last year’s #10 in the poll, April 2014
• Coastal Living magazine included a visit to New Orleans as one of “Six Trips That Will Change Your Life”, February 2014
• Glamour magazine named New Orleans as a Top 10 Bachelorette Party Destinations in 2014, January 2014
• In the January issue of Food & Wine, the magazine polled its readers for their picks. The “clear favorite” for top dining city was New Orleans, January 2014
• Australia’s Flight Centre named New Orleans as one of their Top Destinations 2014. New Orleans is the only city in the United States to make this list, January 2014
• New Orleans ranked 3rd on Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2015 list, December 2014
Special Event Permitting Process Easier Than Ever Before
Through the One Stop Shop, which acts as a single point of entry to City departments that issue event permits and licenses, the City provides special event organizers with seamless customer service that minimizes wait times and visits to City Hall for permits related to events. In 2014, the One Stop Shop collected more than $750,000 in revenue and processed more than 2,360 applications in coordination with 17 City agencies reviewing and approving documents to ensure both citizen interests and departmental missions were properly met. This year, the One Stop Shop also incorporated all district Council offices into reviews of alcohol related events to provide a seamless experience.
“Since starting the One Stop Shop in 2013, the City has received overwhelmingly positive reviews of the improved application process for special events,” said Ava Rogers, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. “We remain committed to providing people who wish to host events in New Orleans with the best service possible.”
Looking Forward To 2015
In 2015, New Orleans will host the 2015 Sugar Bowl in January and the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National. Annual events including Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, ESSENCE Festival and French Quarter Festival are anticipating record number of attendees in the coming year.